Research highlights for October 2021

Published: 29 October 2021 at 11:07

Find out about research published by the Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI) in October 2021.

Jacob et al. (1) used data from the World Health Survey to investigate the association between diabetes and edentulism in adults from 40 low and middle-income countries. They found a positive and significant association between diabetes and edentulism, and those with comorbid diabetes and edentulism had worse health status compared with those with diabetes only. The authors concluded that there was an urgent need to promote oral health in people with diabetes.

Acoustic information can be a useful tool for blind or partially sighted individuals to help judge the size of a room. In Kolarik et al. (2) normally sighted and partially sighted participants were presented with sounds at different distances in a simulated reverberant or anechoic room. Farthest distance judgments and room size judgments were obtained from blindfolded participants for speech, music, and noise stimuli. The authors found that while sighted participants showed positive correlations between judged room volume and farthest sound source distance estimates, participants with visual losses showed no significant correlations.

Vaughan et al. (3) aimed to review the available literature examining the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation (via changes in 25(OH)D levels) in Black or Asian participants. They found that supplementation of vitamin D (D2 and D3) increased 25(OH)D levels compared to a placebo, with food fortification yielding smaller increases compared to studies using oral supplementation. The results obtained from this study have the potential to inform COVID-19 related nutrition advice, particularly with regards to the general efficacy of vitamin D supplementation.

Excessive use of digital smart devices such as tablets and smartphones has been suggested as a risk factor for myopia. Foreman et al. (4) performed a systematic review and meta-analysis in order to assess the association between digital smart device and myopia. They showed that there is insufficient and conflicting literature on the association between smartphone and tablet exposure and myopia, however the results of their meta-analysis suggested that smart device screen time, alone and in combination with computer screen time, could be associated with an increased risk of myopia.

Smith et al. (5) aimed to examine the association between multimorbidity and anxiety symptoms in a large sample of adults aged ≥ 50 years from six low and middle-income countries. The authors found that multimorbidity was significantly associated with higher odds of anxiety. In terms of individual chronic conditions, it was found that visual impairment, chronic lung disease, diabetes, stroke, chronic back pain, hearing problems, and angina were all significantly associated with anxiety symptoms.


1. Jacob, L., Shin, J. I., Oh, H., López-Sánchez, G. F., Smith, L., Haro, J. M., Koyanagi, A., 2021. Association between diabetes and edentulism and their joint effects on health status in 40 low and middle-income countries. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, 9(1), pp. e002514. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2021-002514

2. Kolarik, A. J., Moore, B. C. J., Cirstea, S., Raman, R., Gopalakrishnan, S., Pardhan, S., 2021. Partial visual loss disrupts the relationship between judged room size and sound source distance. Experimental Brain Research. doi: 10.1007/s00221-021-06235-0

3. Vaughan, M., Trott, M., Sapkota, R., Premi, G., Roberts, J., Ubhi, J., Smith, L., Pardhan, S., 2021. Changes in 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels post-vitamin D supplementation in people of Black and Asian ethnicities and its implications during COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12949

4. Foreman, J., Salim, A. T., Praveen, A., Fonseka, D., Ting, D. S. W., Guang He, M., Bourne, R .R. A., Crowston, J., Wong, T. Y., Dirani, M., 2021. Association between digital smart device use and myopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Digital Health. doi: 10.1016/S2589-7500(21)00135-7

5. Smith, L., López Sánchez, G. F., Shin, J. I., Soysal, P., Veronese, N., Kostev, K., Jacob, L., Oh, H., Schuch, F., Butler, L., Barnett, Y., Law, C. T., Koyanagi, A., 2021. Multimorbidity and Anxiety Symptoms among Adults Aged 50 Years and Over from Six Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Journal of Ageing and Longevity, 1(1). doi: 10.3390/jal1010005